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D'Amico's 'grudge' unwarranted

I am baffled by Alex D'Amico's letter in the Jan. 17 issue of the 'Prince' where he questions the choice of Queen Noor as baccalaureate speaker. It seems he has some sort of personal grudge against the Queen of Jordan. First he acknowledges that she has "dedicated herself to humanitarian causes" but later implies that these endeavors are less significant because she married into the royal family. Is he saying that she would not have engaged in such activities had she never married a king?

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And what is D'Amico's definition of self-made? Does he think Lisa Halaby has an easy ride though life because of her marriage? Does he think it was easy to be among the first women admitted into this white male fortress? Does he have any idea what she had to accomplish just to get into Princeton? There is no basis to accuse the Queen of being less than "self-made." We all choose our own paths, and make decisions in our lives as best we can with the resources we have at the time.

I also question D'Amico's characterization of the Queen as a "housewife." Clearly he means this as an insult. First of all, there is no shame in being a housewife. A woman who stays at home to care for her family can be just as much a "self-made" person as anyone else. D'Amico's misogynist language is very disturbing.

Next he lists some "facts" about Jordan, his second one being that "the dominant culture and religion in Jordan degrades women as second-class citizens." I have some shocking news for you, Mr. D'Amico: women are degraded as second-class citizens ALL OVER THE WORLD, AND BY MANY RELIGIONS. Surely you don't mean to say that Catholicism or Judaism treat women with any more respect than Islam?

D'Amico goes on to say that the Queen became "irrelevant" after the king's death because her children where not placed on the throne. How exactly does a person become irrelevant? The people of Jordan still love their Queen. She continues to work at her humanitarian causes and to improve the lives of the Jordanian people. She continues to appear in the Jordanian news media. This does not sound irrelevant or "insignificant" as he later descibes her. It seems he is saying that she was nothing before she became queen, and now that she is no longer the official queen, she has become nothing once again. What an alarming display of arrogance.

D'Amico later showers praise on Meg Whitman '77 for her role in "engineering a cultural revolution." Mr. D'Amico, have you ever visited Jordan? Have you talked taxi drivers and people on the streets and in cafes about how King Hussein and Queen Noor together transformed Jordan from a poor, under-developed country into a growing industrial, economic, and social power in the Arab world? Isn't that a cultural revolution?

I was in Jordan last August, and I did talk to people. They hold their queen in high regard, not only for her official/royal status, but because they recognize her to be a fine, caring, and upstanding person. And I think this is the perfect type of person to choose as a role model. JoAnn Boscarino Assistant Curator of Research Photographs Department of Art and Archaeology

PAW's independence long lost

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In light of the news report and editorial on the Princeton Alumni Weekly, I have to wonder what magazine I've been getting all these years instead of the high-quality, independent publication 'Prince' staffers read. The PAW has long been an embarrassment to the university and its alumni, especially the many journalists among us. (For a humiliating contrast, read Harvard Magazine or Technology Review, both good enough to be sold to the general public, or even the Penn or Duke alumni magazines.) PAW is not just an obvious public relations organ that buries all controversy and repeats an official line — 'Pravda in black and orange,' as my husband calls it — but it is a pathetic excuse for P.R., since it doesn't even cover the interesting research taking place throughout the University or report on sports in a timely fashion. The new ownership arrangement cannot make it worse, only slightly more honest. Virginia Postrel '82 Columnist, Forbes magazine

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